The Kalahari resort and water park in Sandusky, Ohio
Kalahari Sandusky: In May of 2005, the Kalahari Waterpark Resort opened the largest indoor waterpark in Ohio at that time, with an 80,000 square foot waterpark, 308 guest rooms, 2 restaurants, a day spa, a miniature golf course, a pottery decorating area, a video arcade, and an amazing meeting and conference center. With the opening of a huge expansion project on December 21, 2007, the Kalahari will become the largest indoor waterpark in the US, with a mind-boggling 160,000 square feet of water fun.
For large families or extended family groups, this is probably the park to pick. Their Village Suite, the largest room available among all three waterparks, holds 12 adults and includes a full-sized and fully equipped kitchen. In addition, there’s plenty to do besides just play in the water.
Does your family like arts and crafts? You can decorate pottery, do make-it-take-it crafts, have body art done, or get a caricature made. If unique shopping is more your bag, you can pick up a cool swimsuit or an authentic piece of African art or have someone’s name engraved on a piece of rice and set into jewelry.
Family members who are into health and fitness can play miniature golf, use the workout area, or get a massage at the spa. Plus, I can’t forget to mention the Surfari FlowRider. Surfing in Ohio. And indoors, yet. How cool is that?
There’s even a two-story dry playhouse area for tots who aren’t so fond of the water, and (in the summer) a big outdoor pool area lined with rentable bungalows that include mini fridges, flat-screen TVs, and lounge chairs. Really, there’s something for everyone!
I love Ohio waterpark vacations, especially in the winter. You never have to worry about the weather’s effect on your plans. You aren’t taking a long expensive airplane trip to get somewhere (which means no hassles with airport security – yay!) You can spend an entire day in your swimsuit, even in January. Best of all, you can eat, sleep, shop, and play without ever having to go outside.
Find out for yourself what specials and options each property offers and then choose the one that’s just right for your family. Check them out. You’ll be glad you did! – Review written by Betty Winslow
The Castaway Bay in Sandusky, Ohio
- Location: Sandusky, Ohio at 2001 Cleveland Road (entrance to the Cedar Point Causeway)
- Phone: 419-627-2106
- Web: http://www.castawaybay.com/
Castaway Bay Sandusky: The Caribbean meets Sandusky in this resort destination for vacationers. With its tropical theme, guests at Cedar Point’s Castaway Bay feel like they have just landed on an island paradise upon entering this lush indoor waterpark resort. Castaway Bay features 237 hotel rooms and suites including family-oriented units, a 38,000-square-foot indoor waterpark loaded with water activities for all ages, a day spa, fitness center, state-of-the-art arcade, restaurants, retail shops, adjacent marina and space for meetings, group events and birthday parties.
Cedar Point’s Castaway Bay indoor waterpark features a 35-foot-tall, 520-foot-long water coaster that uses water jets to propel riders uphill! Swooping turns and a wild ending are what’s in store for guests daring enough to challenge Castaway Bay’s 10 slides, including three 35-foot-tall body slides. Guests are sure to get wet at the Lookout Lagoon Family Funhouse that is highlighted by a gigantic water-filled bucket that dumps more than 1,000 gallons of water every two minutes! Younger guests splash the day away at Toddler’s Tide Pool, which features a tandem slide, water pipes and sea creatures. A wide variety of other wet and wild fun also awaits guests at Castaway Bay.
The Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio is open: year-round.
Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio: Something for everyone in the family! Great Wolf Lodge will be a first-class, full-service family destination resort and conference center, designed to capture the atmosphere and adventure of the northwoods. Serving as Ohio’s Year-Round Family Resort™, Great Wolf Lodge will provide a comprehensive package of destination amenities including an indoor waterpark featuring 11 waterslides and six pools, outdoor activity pool, spa, gift shop, arcade, restaurants, Cub Club featuring daily crafts and activities for kids and much more. The 40,000 sq.ft. conference facility with a state-of-the-art symposium and 10,000 sq.ft. ballroom is the perfect location for trade shows, meetings, family reunions, weddings or other gatherings.
The Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, Ohio
- Location: 4600 Milan Road (U.S. 250) in Sandusky, Ohio
- Phone: 419-609-6000 or 1-888-779-2327
- Web: www.greatwolflodge.com
Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, Ohio (originally called “Great Bear Lodge”) is the smallest waterpark of the current three at 33,000 square feet. However, with a total of 9 slides and 5 pools, a 25-foot rock climbing wall, a toddler tree house area, and an arts-and-crafts playhouse in the lodge itself, it still has a lot to offer. I especially like the adult-only hot tub tucked away in a corner!
Our family has stayed at Great Wolf Lodge several times and one of my favorite things about it has been the lobby. Really! This space is very homey, despite its Paul Bunyanesque size, and lodge guests are encouraged to use it as an auxiliary living room. It’s a very pleasant spot to hang out too, with a large fireplace, several comfy seating areas grouped around coffee tables large enough for a rousing board game (available at the reservation desk), a coffee cart, and a two-story animated clock tower that puts on regular shows.
During one stay, I spotted an elderly man in the lobby in flannel PJs, robe, and slippers, reading the morning newspaper and sipping a cup of coffee as he sat by the fire. I’ve also seen solitary adults reading and enjoying the quiet, a foursome playing cards, a crowd of pajama-clad tots listening to the nightly bedtime story, several families watching the clock tower show, and (in the lodge’s annual December Snowland celebration) guests singing Christmas carols under real-looking snow falling from the lobby ceiling while they waited for Santa to arrive.
For me, the lobby’s crowning touch is the mounted moose head on the wall that sings at timed intervals, never failing to draw a crowd of amazed kids and amused adults. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard a stuffed animal head singing “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Baby” in a voice that sounds just like Barry White!
The other thing I really enjoy about Great Wolf Lodge is the food. Whether you have a drink and appetizers in the Gitchigoomie Grill while seated under the authentic aeroplane that hangs from the ceiling or you enjoy a family-style meal in Lumber Jack’s Cook Shanty, you won’t be disappointed – the food in both places is excellent. In fact, the burgers in the grill are the best I’ve ever eaten!
A nice touch in the grill is the kid’s menu, which offers goodies like hamburgers and hot dogs, mac & cheese, and PB&J, along with drinks for childish palates, made of ingredients like lemonade, ice cream, piña colada mix, and juices. They even offer an appetizer plate with taste treats like peanut butter pinwheels with jelly dip and strawberries with fruit dip. How cool is that? – Review written by Betty Winslow.
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